A Collision of All Things Miami Tech
By Chris Daniels, Founder of the Shrimp Society
Miami Hack Week was a collision of talent, technology, resources, and all that the City of Miami has to offer. Being in a hack house felt like a tech conference, Spring Break, summer camp, and a reality TV show all at the same time.
Unlike a normal tech conference or hackathon, Miami Hack Week (MHW) offered the length and depth of opportunities that allowed you to build real relationships with people you just met.
You could meet someone at a panel on Tuesday, then work on a project together on Wednesday, do yoga on Thursday, and go to Komodo on Friday. Very few tech conferences offer this level of community building across so many different activities.
Each hack house had a completely different vibe. Some houses focused on building tech, some on recruiting, and others on socializing. The common feedback from hackers was that there were too many social events throughout the week. They said there wasn’t enough time to build… but to be frank, no one was really complaining. The events punctuated the week and served as a launchpad for new projects.
Inside the Shrimp House
The Shrimp Society hosted a hack house in a sleepy neighborhood right outside of Brickell.
The upstairs loft became the “Hacker Lounge” where about 20 hackers were building until 4am every night. We hosted a few crypto degens that were trading massive amounts of crypto & NFTs at any given point up in the Hacker Lounge. (“Degens” is an endearing term for crypto/NFT people that are at the center of the action, making big trades and building on the protocols. We love the degens. They’re crazy.)
We had artists, athletes, musicians, investors, and engineers at the house. The word “collision” really describes the atmosphere. So many different people all operating at the highest level collaborating on new ideas, technology, and opportunities.
Downstairs was a make-shift dining hall where we tried to keep the food stocked and the Red Bull flowing.
Shrimp Society Hack House
Like any good reality TV show, we had some drama. We took in some hackers from other houses and vice-versa. We had some people change teams. We had some injuries on the 3v3 court.
That’s inevitable when dropping 20 strangers into a house for a week. At the end of the day though, our house turned into a family. The more you put into the group, the more you got out of it.
My advice to anyone thinking about participating in the next MHW: Be engaged. Be present. Take a few days off work if you can. Hang out at the house all day. Participate in everything from hacking to events to workouts to team dinners.
Meet the Hackers
We had an open door policy at the Shrimp House for any MHW hackers, so I had the opportunity to meet plenty of participants. Three things standout across the group:
- People came from all over the world for Miami Hack Week – Seattle, Austin, London, Haiti, Ireland, Argentina, and more.
- Everyone was impressive – The concentration of talent was unbelievable. Top engineers from leading tech companies, web3 devs, anonymous hackers, artists, creators, and all sorts of impressive people.
- Everyone wanted to connect and had an open mind – Like summer camp, everyone at MHW was looking to meet new people, build relationships, and learn from each other.
There were plenty of nomads participating which gave me a glimpse into the fluid future of work. Young people with high-paying tech jobs bouncing from Mexico City to Miami to Los Angeles. I even met one hacker who drove his RV here from California and was living in a Walmart parking lot.
At the closing expo on Friday, I asked probably 30 hackers what they thought of Miami and if they would move here. Off the top of my head, 30% said they are planning to move to Miami, 40% said they are seriously considering it, and the remaining 30% said they plan to spend much more time here.
If the point of Miami Hack Week was to showcase the Miami tech scene to top engineering talent from across the world, I have to say that was a mission accomplished.
Shown at the top of this post is the Shrimpgame Prize Winner at MHW Expo. Left to Right: David Woodward, Paola Roldan, Galina Fendikevich, Traci Levine, Chris Daniels, and Jackson Harris.
Lessons Learned for Next Year
If you’re a startup or company looking to get involved in Miami Hack Week next time around, here are a few lessons & tips when planning.
- Plan a schedule and structure for your house. Managing the different events, catering, working hours, and socializing hours was pretty difficult. It was tough to get everyone on the same page sometimes. Having a clear schedule with times and places creates structure for the group.
- Give responsibilities to hackers. Whether it’s ordering dinner, creating a scavenger hunt, or setting up for an event, it’s important to get your house members involved. Working as a team builds bonds and also takes a lot of weight off of the house organizer’s back.
- Don’t plan on getting any deep work done. Maybe you have better focus than me, but I found it very difficult to get any deep work done while organizing a hack house. Plan on being a camp counselor for the week. You’ll be solving problems all day like tracking down a lost speaker, parking cars, and restocking toilet paper.
With that said, MHW was 1000% worth it. Hosting a hack house was endless laughs, 3am whiteboard sessions, lively team dinners, and of course the opportunity to build cool technology with a bunch of new people.
I highly recommend MHW for any tech company or startup looking to engage with a talented and fun group of people.
Thank you to all the organizers, volunteers, and sponsors that made Miami Hack Week possible. What made this event such a success was the community-wide participation. Everyone in the Miami tech community was playing their part for MHW. It’s really incredible to see a community of thousands of people work together to make something so special happen.
A special shout-out to the organizers I worked with directly Ja’dan Johnson, Luke Didrikson, Jose Sirven, Vanessa Calas, Zach Eisenhauer, Monica Rojas, and Jordan Mitchell. You all did an amazing job.
I think it’s safe to say Miami Hack Week is now a staple of the Miami tech scene. We’ll see you for MHW 3.0.
If you’re an entrepreneurial-spirited person in South Florida, you can get involved with the Shrimp Society at www.theshrimpsocety.com. We have opportunities for founders, developers, investors, and operators across our innovation ecosystem. Follow us on Twitter at @shrimpsconft
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